Category Archives: Learning

Best Boy Books in Historical Fiction: The Great Trouble

Does your son dream in black and white? Does he look for danger and mystery in everything he sees? You may have the next great detective on your hands. If your son is interested in mystery novels then this novel is a great choice.  The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson brings together mystery and history. It is an excellent way to not only keep your kids interested in reading, but also keeping them interested in reading and learning. 

Set in London in 1854 the book follows Eel, an orphan, and a “mudlark” he searches the river Thames everyday for things to sell so he can afford food. Like most vagrants he is constantly on the watch for a quick shilling, something to eat, and to steer clear of other vagrants. Fisheye Bill Tyler is the nastiest vagrant there is, and he is after Eel. Eel must do everything he can to keep safe, which becomes increasingly harder in August when Cholera comes to Broad Street. It is spreading quick, but Dr John Snow has a theory that can help to stop it. Eel and his best friend Florrie are trying to help Dr. Snow. This fun and intriguing tale of mystery and history will keep your boys turning pages as fast as they can.

The great trouble

Now your son can learn about the past while keeping his brain thinking fast and quenching his thirst for a great mystery. Check it out now at your local library or find it in stores. You and your boys will not be disappointed.


Shoe Tying: How to Teach Kids to Tie

In our house we have recently begun working on learning to tie our shoes. It has been so long since I have had to teach anyone how to tie their shoes. I forgot how complicated it can be. There are so many different ideas for teaching, there are even different methods for tying. Which ones work best? Which ones are the easiest for a small child to get? It can be difficult to even approach. So of course what does a mom do? Pinterest.

I love my Pinterest page. I have so many ideas, so many little categories, but my favorite is my folder for my kids. I can pin things that will help me to help them. Pinterest is like Google for mommies. Everything you could ever think of is available.

When I typed in shoe tying I found thousands of pins with ideas on the subject. I chose a few of my favorites and began prepping my tools so that we could approach our first lesson. I fell in love with three different teaching methods, I loved them so much I have to share them with you. Moms need to stick together.

Here are a few tools:

Mom Advice: A New Shoe Tying Method: This method was so helpful. It even shares a little video so that I can watch it with my kids. We loved the visual.

Show Tying

One Crafty Place: Teach Your Child to Tie: This method was helpful because it gave us the tutorial and taught us how to create our own little shoe tying practice board. This added tool made it so much easier to help our kids practice everyday.

Shoe Tying Cards

Tools to Grow: Printable Template for Tying: This great resource actually included a template that allowed us to print a practice board.

Shoe Tying Template

We used a combination of these three to help teach our little ones to tie. The three tiered approach seemed to work. After a few weeks of trying, practicing, and helping we have officially left our velcro shoes in the closet for good!

Great Books for Your Middle Schooler

We love books. We also love sharing books with our kids, and with your kids too! Reading is such an important part of life. A great love of reading can change how your child sees the world, and how they learn from it. That is why it is important to nurture that love for reading, which isn’t always easy for parents. One great way is to understand what kind of person your child is, what their likes are, what their personality is, and most importantly what their reading level is. If you choose a book too advanced for them it can intimidate them and make them afraid to read because they do not fully understand what they are reading and they don’t like feeling lost. If you choose too far below their level they can get bored and choose not read because it is not fun or thrilling.

To gauge some of these things you need to know how they are doing at school. Meet with their teacher and see what their reading level is this year. Or you might even want to see what it was last year, so that you can see if it is growing and changing each year. You can also check your child’s reading level by doing an at home reading competency test. Tutoring Parents has a great tutorial on how to gauge your child’s reading competency. The tutorial is simple to follow and can be applied to any age group.

Once you know your child’s reading level you can start thinking about books that will impress them. Think of their hobbies, their personality, and the things they think about being in the future. You want to pick things that they have an interest in already, but that doesn’t mean you cannot introduce them to new things. Here is a fun flowchart that will help you think of different ideas, and maybe help you brainstorm some of your own.


Books for your middle schooler

Now it’s time to head for the library or the local bookstore to pick up some books for your middle schooler.